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Learning from New Zealand

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13 Jul 16

British credit unions have learned about the New Zealand movement from the Chief Executive of Co-op Money NZ.

Henry Lynch (pictured) travelled to Manchester for a special day of shared learning and experience with credit unions from across Britain, with a focus on how credit unions can work co-operatively to develop new products to benefit their members.

Co-op Money NZ is both the trade association for credit unions in New Zealand and a provider of banking products to the sector. Although smaller than Britain's credit union sector with just over 200,000 members and around £750 million in assets, there is much the British movement can learn from Co-op Money NZ's innovative approach to product development through co-operative working between credit unions.

Henry Lynch was appointed as CEO of Co-op Money NZ in 2010 and has broad expertise, spanning over 30 years in the financial services industry. He has driven Co-op Money NZ's approach to co-operative working among credit unions and their development of a credit card proposition for credit unions.

Credit union delegates at the special event at Manchester’s Midland Hotel on 12 July heard Henry's story of the New Zealand movement's co-operative approach and its challenges, achievements and future opportunities. There was also input from Cornerstone Mutual Services on the development of the Automated Lending Decision tool and card products for British credit unions, with plenty of interesting questions and discussion about shared challenges and what can be learned for the New Zealand experience.

Delegates included Calderdale Credit Union Chair Deborah Levy, who said: “It was a really inspirational event which for me exploded the myths around the tendency for us to think that because the UK credit union sector is relatively small in comparison to others we cannot think big. We actually can, as has been proven in New Zealand!”

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “We’re very grateful to Henry for spending a day with us to share the knowledge and learning from New Zealand’s credit unions with some of the British credit unions that are currently exploring co-operative product development and card propositions for members.

“There is so much we can learn from the global credit union movement, and the approach to product innovation in New Zealand is particularly interesting and relevant to the path our sector is currently on.

“This international co-operation is one of the great benefits of the World Council of Credit Unions, and we are proud to be the World Council's British member.”

Henry Lynch was spending time with credit unions in Britain before the World Credit Union Conference gets underway in Belfast on 17 July.

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